WILMINGTON — North Carolina’s oldest Jewish temple is finally getting a facelift after a large capital campaign, with goals to reopen this summer.
The Temple of Israel, built in 1876, closed in 2020 during the pandemic and never reopened after a building inspection deemed it unsafe for visitors. Damage exists from water intrusion and age-related deterioration. Its congregation launched a fundraising effort in December 20201 to raise the needed money to make repairs.
The Temple Restoration 150 Committee — named in honor of the 150th anniversary of the temple’s founding — embarked on a half-million-dollar effort, and announced this week the money has been raised and work is underway.
The Temple, located at Fourth and Market streets, is being renovated by architect Bruce Bowman, with BMH Architects, and general contractor Construction Coastal. The process includes moisture and mold remediation, window restoration, deep cleaning, roof repairs, interior work in Rosenthal Hall, exterior landscaping, and a complete replacement of the HVAC system.
But the congregation isn’t stopping there. Funds continue to be raised to create a reserve fund for future maintenance of the Temple, considered a beacon of historical architecture. The committee is working on preparing grants and locating additional sources of income. Donor recognition plans include a new plaque to be installed prominently on the Temple entrance.
The congregation will continue to meet at the Reibman Center for Kehillan, the temple-owned annex built in 2015 at 922 Market St. until the Temple of Israel’s future opening.
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